(RightIsRight.co) – The conservative majority on the US Supreme Court is skeptical regarding President Joe Biden’s half-a-trillion-dollar plan to forgive student debts, it has emerged from arguments voiced during a hearing.
On Tuesday, the nation’s highest court heard arguments on two challenges to Biden’s order to eliminate or reduce the student loan debts of millions of Americans without the approval of the US Congress.
The first challenge, Biden v. Nebraska, claims state entities would suffer losses due to their roles as loan servicers. The second, Department of Education v. Brown, involves people who claim they were left out of the program for failing to observe its procedures, The National Review reported.
The arguments presented in the Supreme Court hearing lasted well beyond the two hours allotted. Chief Justice John Roberts and the other conservatives on the nine-person panel questioned the federal executive’s ability to cancel student debt due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.
Lower courts have prevented Biden’s student debt relief plan from proceeding with rulings by Republican-appointed judges.
While none of the six conservative Supreme Court justices indicated they would approve the president’s plan, some of them – Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – seemed “most open” to the arguments of the Biden administration, AP reported, as cited by Newsmax.
Roberts, in particular, suggested that the federal executive had “exceeded” its authority with its student debt program, estimated to cost $400 billion over 30 years. The Chief Justice, however, mentioned three times that it would cost “a half-trillion dollars.”
“I think most casual observers would say if you’re going to give up that much … money. If you’re going to affect the obligations of that many Americans on a subject that’s of great controversy, they would think that’s something for Congress to act on,” Roberts declared.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh remarked the Biden administration was using an “old law” to unilaterally implement a debt relief motion rejected by the US Congress.
“In the wake of Congress not authorizing the action, the executive nonetheless doing a massive new program… seems problematic,” he said.
The Democrat administration claims the 2003 HEROES Act, which was supposed to benefit US service members who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, allows the education secretary to waive or change federal student loans due to a national emergency.
While noting that the administration had based its debt relief program on the national emergency created by the coronavirus pandemic, Kavanaugh stressed some of the “finest moments in the court’s history” have been “pushing back against presidential assertions of emergency power.”
Elizabeth Prelogar, the Biden administration’s top Supreme Court lawyer, insisted that a failure to implement the program would have grave consequences.
“Defaults and delinquencies will surge above pre-pandemic levels,” she said, describing a situation in which the program wouldn’t take effect before the pandemic pause on loan repayments ended by this summer.
“The states ask this court to deny this vital relief to millions of Americans,” she said.
About 26 million Americans have applied to get $20,000 in federal student loans forgiven under the program.
“I’m confident the legal authority to carry that plan is there,” President Joe Biden commented on Monday.
The Supreme Court is expected to rule on Biden’s plan by late June.
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